16 migrant workers run over by train in Aurangabad, Opposition demands answers

Say Central govt alone responsible for tragedy that was completely avoidable


It is no secret that the lockdown announced in the wake of the Coronavirus in India has had a disproportionately larger impact on the lives and livelihoods of migrant workers. Facing the prospect of starvation and homelessness many of them decided to walk back home.  Many of those walking home, passed away on the road itself. From minors to adults, scores of migrants died from exhaustion, hunger, the cold and accidents. The death toll keeps increasing everyday, even as various state governments, allegedly at the behest of powerful industrialists and builders, scramble to find new ways to prevent migrants from leaving the state to prevent a labour exodus. 

But in a shocking incident, that should shake every right thinkking person’s conscience,16 such migrant workers crushed to death under a goods train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad region. The workers were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna, 157 kms apart, to board a “Shramik Special” train to return to Madhya Pradesh. They were sleeping on the railway track after being exhausted from covering such a long distance thinking that they would be safe as trains were not running, when the mishap occurred between the Badnapur and Karmad stations in Nanded division. While 14 of them died immediately, 2 of them succumbed to their injuries later. 

In wake of this senseless and completely avoidable tragedy, civil society and the Opposition have come down heavily on the Centre for being lackadaisical in ensuring the safe return of migrants back home, citing that had the Central government had the foresight to ensure that the coronavirus would impact migrants the way it did and had it made arrangements right at the start of the lockdown, this unfortunate event would have been avoided.

In a statement the CPI (M) has unequivocally blamed the Central government for the tragedy. The CPI (M) Maharashtra state committee said that it deeply condoles the death of these migrant workers and shares the great pain of all their families in Madhya Pradesh. The statement said, “The CPI (M) Maharashtra state committee holds the BJP central government led by Narendra Modi to be squarely responsible for this terrible tragedy. It is a reflection on the extreme insensitivity, callousness and moral bankruptcy of this BJP regime.”

Pointing to the despicable indifference of the Centre towards the migrants, the statement said, “The way the lockdown was imposed on March 24 giving barely a four hour notice, no steps taken for the next five weeks to reach the distressed migrants to their homes, refusal to give them food and bare essentials to eke out a living, the heart-rending scenes of thousands of migrant women, children and men walking hundreds of kilometers to their homes all over the country in the scorching sun without food, water or shelter, over-charging these penniless migrants for their train and bus travel – all this points to the criminal callousness of the Modi regime. It has also exhibited its utter contempt for the working people who actually produce the wealth of our country.”  

Also mentioning the reaction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to the incident – the tweets they put out, CPI (M) mentioned that both leaders did nothing beyond “tweeting empty words”. It also said that in contrast to the Centre, the Maharashtra government has declared help of Rs. 5 lakh each to the families of the deceased and is treating the injured.

However, this cannot be enough the party statement reads. It demands that the Centre must completely rehabilitate all the hapless families of the deceased migrant workers.



Sixteen migrants killed after cargo train runs over them; railways orders probe




Related Articles